Providing services to families at home and in their communities can help caseworkers better identify strengths and needs and address parenting skills and relationships in the family's natural environment. Services should be family centered, community based, culturally competent, and should engage the family by using their input to determine what types of supports or services will be most helpful to them. The goal of in-home services is to prevent the need for future child welfare involvement or removal.
Learn more about the role of in-home services in supporting and preserving families, including State and local examples.
National Resource Center for In-Home Services
Provides training and technical assistance to States and Tribes to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in their homes; prevent their initial placement or reentry into foster care; and preserve, support, and stabilize their families.
Child Well-Being Spotlight: Children Placed Outside the Home and Children Who Remain In-Home After a Maltreatment Investigation Have Similar and Extensive Service Needs (PDF - 211 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2012)
Summarizes recent research from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) that indicates children reported for maltreatment have a high risk of experiencing developmental problems, cognitive problems, behavioral/emotional problems, or substance use disorders, regardless of whether they were placed in out-of-home care or remained in-home with or without receiving services.
Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Presents the results of a research review that assessed home visiting program models designed for families with pregnant women and children up to age 5. The website provides program model reports, outcome domain reports, implementation profiles, a study search tool, and more.
In-Home Services as Safety Management (PDF - 94 KB)
Action for Child Protection (2009)
Provides an example of an in-home services safety plan and describes how to develop one. The brief also discusses related issues such as parental involvement in case planning and caseworker communication with parents regarding expectations.
Learning About Services for Your Family in Your Own Home (PDF - 153 KB)
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, American Institutes for Research, Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Child Welfare League of America, & National Indian Child Welfare Association (2004)
In A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System
Describes the purpose and different types of in-home services and offers practical tips for families who may receive such services.
Unsuccessful In-Home Child Welfare Service Plans Following a Maltreatment Investigation: Racial and Ethnic Differences
Casey Family Programs
Examines aspects of child welfare cases and decision-making that impact whether children remain in their homes or are placed in out-of-home care, looking particularly at the interplay of race or ethnicity with those aspects.
State and Local Examples
In-Home Services Comparison Tool (Word - 114 KB)
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (2010)
Describes numerous services provided to at-risk families in their homes, including those addressing parenting, early childhood and child development, intensive family preservation, prevention, reunification services, and more. Descriptions address target population, referral criteria, response time, duration of services, and follow-up.
Intensive In-Home Services Annual Report
Missouri Department of Social Services (2009)
Presents reports from 2002-2009; each report includes information on the characteristics of children and families served, response time, and length and outcomes of services.
In-Home Family Education Program Start-Up Guide (Word - 193 KB)
Partners in Community Outreach (2009)
Explains strategies developed to assist West Virginia communities interested in starting an in-home family education program. The guide includes information on planning groups, logic models, budgeting, funding sources, assessment tools, and program models.
Performance Audit: Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families, Child Protective Services: In-Home Services Program (PDF - 617 KB)
Arizona Office of the Auditor General (2012)
Describes the types of services provided to families as well as the relationship between agency staff and contractors who provide those services. The audit recommends that the agency can strengthen in-home services by better incorporating the use of evidence-based practices.
Family-centered practice: Engaging communities to support families
Preventing child abuse & neglect: Prevention programs - Home visiting
Preventing child abuse & neglect: Prevention programs - Parent education programs
Preventing child abuse & neglect: Prevention programs - Parent support group programs